I’ve been using the F-195 shoes for more than a year now and the best summary I can give is I would probably not be running if I hadn’t found these shoes. I’ve always been a cyclist and hiker and rarely enjoyed running at all, other than some occasional trail running. With the F-Lite shoes I actually enjoy it, almost like being a kid again.
I’d tried the Nike Free before and liked the overall minimalist concept but the heel was just too high for it to feel natural. The 3mm differential of the F-Lite 195 immediately felt better and that feeling has continued. They were a bit tight at first but the mesh upper stretches and conforms quickly and within an hour or so I forgot all about it. They have been reasonably durable for a sub 200g shoe. The first pair I had finally wore through the fabric on the inside of the heel and started causing blisters, but other than that wear and tear nothing came apart unexpectedly.
The laces are designed to be no-slip and work quite well in that regard but to me are somewhat of a mixed blessing. I tend to like laces that slip a little so the fit can adjust itself on the fly, and when I’m tired and cranky they can be a pain in the butt to get undone – especially when I use a double knot and they’re wet.
Inov-8 bills it as a fitness shoe but I think it works better than their road models on grass or slick surfaces, and has a less harsh feel on pavement. The soles are thin enough that I can tell the difference between concrete and blacktop, have great sensory feedback, and enforce a smooth style, but small rocks and other hazards don’t bother much at all so I find them a good compromise for most conditions.
Nobody can predict what shoes will work for someone else, but if you’re still looking for the right shoe they are definitely worth a try.
Full specs are available here.